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Arrow of Light Ceremony

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It gets plenty cold in St. Paul too. (In fact, it may get up to 9 this Thursday)


We hold our Blue-Gold inside, and I will be awarding the Arrow of Light to my Webelos. The ceremony I wrote for last year, and will be using again this year, talks about the 7 virtues of the AOL, and I light a candle for each virtue. I explain how the AOL is the only rank advancement in cub scouts to be worn on the boy scout uniform, and also to have recognition on a scouter uniform.


Since we're indoors, we don't shoot an arrow, but I do present one. A local archery shop makes a cub scout ceremonial arrow with Blue and Gold fletching (uncut). I then take colored tape and stripe each arrow for the scout. I also attach a card explaining what each stripe means. Our pack has been doing this for several years, and I know several boys still have their arrows hanging in the room.

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We just had an AoL ceremony yesterday. It was part of our Scout Sunday service. One of the recipients requested it be done then, and the other two agreed. We had a couple of our Boy Scouts do a brief talk about following Akela (one spoke as Akela and the other boy had a short interpretive speech). No flaming arrows since we were in the sanctuary during AM service.


For presentation, I have been making arrows for the boys out of old actual arrows. I have several "grown" Scouts in the area that save me their old broken/bent arrows. I cut them off about 12-15" from the nock, so that the fletching is intact. Hot glue on a wooden arrowhead, use leather lacing to create a hanger, and decorate with pony beads and feathers. Takes longer to cut the arrows than anything, and the boys' faces are worth the little bit of time. Especially when they know they are "real" arrow that have been "really" used. If someone wants a picture, PM and I will email it.

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When using an Indian within the program be careful of standing BSA policy. Facepaint is definately a no-no, along with any sort of pipe references. As someone who has done the archery aspect of AoL's for the better part of 5 years now I've seen some pretty good ones, but also some that make me cringe. Kids definately remember the winners though, and talk about them for many years afterwards.

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Hey VigilEagle


You're absolutely right, which is why I normally have professional ceremonies performed by American Indians who know what they're doing. The other way to go, and I have done this, is to have your local Order of the Arrow chapter come to perform for you. This is nice because it is usually free and the OA normally knows Indian lore and how to perform a respectful ceremony.


Either way it is always good to go with trusted performers.


I have done face painting, however this was not an American Indian ceremony. In my ceremony I make it clear that the paint represents specific parts of the scouting values, and it isn't Indian "face paint".


Eagle Pete

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I'm going to a B&G this afternoon where there will be an AOL & Crossover. Why in the dead of winter, at least for the Crossover & AOL? It would be great if they could be in a slightly warmer time of the year.

A Pack/Troop campout would be a great time. Flsming arrows flying out over the lake, ceremony fires etc.


Its Me, check with your local Historical Society. They lnow people involved in Living History programs. these people know how to and might be will to make AOL awards for you using traditional materials and techniques. You can even have the WEB's go on a field trip earlier in the year to visit, not knowing that these people are making something for them.


Also the HS might be able to hook you up with area people with Native heritage that do programs for the youth and might be more that willing to help with the ceremony. Anything for cross-cutural education.


Heed VigilEagle and Eagle-Pete's posting. Having a Native background, (somewhere from the 1700's), a wife whose greatgrandmother was a fullblood and a son who is very into his Native heritage, I have a little incite. You need to be careful when a ceremony takes on a Native flair. They are great, but know what you are doing. In the 70's I use to paint up for OA ceremonies and loved it. Now it is a MAJOR TABOO with National. Depending where you live (N. Mich?), you don't want people dressing as Apaches. You want the participants in regional regalia. BLACK, WHITE, RED, and YELLOW paint all have different significants in different regions and tribes. DEATH, WAR, PEACE, HEALING, etc.


Not to sound like an alarmest, but last year about this time we almost had a situation in our Council where someone thought they were doing the right thing for the Cubbies, but didn't do their homework.

The ceremonies central figure, a chief, it turns out was considered a traitor and political assassin by his own tribe. A REAL ROLE MODEL for the Cubbies. And if a parent did any research on the figure?

You never know for sure who in your Pack or Troop might be offended if their culture is improperly portrayed.

If AIM ( Amer. Indian Movement - a slightly radical group) had caught wind of our situation, Council wouldn't have known what hit them when a 100 or so protester appeared out of nowhere.

The chief was immediately dropped. The award, a Tomahawk was used and the Native friends were more then willing to help come up with an age appropriate ceremony with a proper figure.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, just to close this out this thread with how our ceremony went.


We used a scripted ceremony available on line in which a chief, a guide and a medicine man lead the ceremony. In this ceremony, the medicine man tells a story about Akela as a youth shooting a flaming arrow that saves a hunting party. We tweaked it here and there and added another guide. I was the medicine man and I dressed as an Indian, with a miss-match of spare costume parts from our dress-up box, a $10.00 head dress and a very real looking stone tomahawk. I had a dad beating a drum in the background. The affect on the audience and kids seemed great. Complete silence fell whenever the medicine man spoke.


With all my hype about Florida having great weather for camping in March, we had a rare front come through and it rained all day Saturday. We were lucky and were able to move the ceremony into the council hall.


Ok, I practiced my flaming arrow at least twenty times around my house. I knew the fuel of choice would be alcohol and I firmly wired wrapped the cloth to the arrow. I used an aluminum arrow but removed the tip to make it lighter. A kid's bow was used as a real bow would leave the fire behind.


During the ceremony, I did my story and when I got to the flaming arrow part we all went to the back porch of the hall to look out over the lake. Errr, errrr, errr, I couldn't open the olive jar with alcohol. The air had cooled and the condensed vapors had pulled a vacuum on the jar. EEERRR, finally I got it open. No one really noticed. Next we light the arrow tip. Shoot and poof it goes out. Luckily I had made three arrows, not knowing if I would shoot all three or what. The second arrow was lit and shot and it formed a great flaming arc. Success! No need to shoot another arrow.


Back inside, the story ends and all webelos get their patch and a custom painted arrow. Many pictures were taken with the medicine man.


Thanks for the replies.






(This message has been edited by Its Me)

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